Ward Boundary Revision
In early December the city’s ward boundary review commission announced new boundaries to take effect at the time of the 2018 City elections. There will still be 15 council wards, but the boundaries will substantially change. Along with Councillor Janice Lukes, I had pushed for the Committee to redraw the boundaries prior to the 2018 election. At present I represent all of St. Vital except for the odd “carve out”, the area west of Dakota between the perimeter and Nova Vista, which is ably represented by Councillor Lukes. The new boundaries do a much better job of equalizing the population in each ward. At present I represent about 54,000 people, while some councilors have only 32,000 – 35,000 residents. Yet we all get the same funding for parks, community grants and communication with residents. Under the new boundaries the range in populations is between 44,000 and 50,000.
During the 2014 election campaign I promised to “modernize ward boundaries” in the hopes of bringing all of St. Vital together into one ward. This proved to be impossible, as there were just too many people in St. Vital to fit into one ward. However, the south end is gaining one new ward (Waverly West) while three small wards in the west end are combined into two. This more accurately reflects population growth in the city.
The new St. Vital ward has a southern boundary at Nova Vista, with all of River Park South being moved into the new “St. Norbert” ward (both Councillor Lukes and I want to expand the ward name so as to recognize that the majority of residents in the new ward live on the St. Vital side of the Red River). The new St. Vital ward will also now include Royalwood, Fraipont and Sage Creek, moving over from current St. Boniface ward.
While I hate to lose certain areas from my ward, I am excited by the prospect of representing some new, rapidly growing areas should I run for re-election in St. Vital ward in 2018. I am proud that I pushed for this modernization of boundaries with Councillor Lukes, and I think St. Vital residents will benefit by having the city’s ward boundaries more accurately reflect the population realities of 2017 instead of 1987.